birding-aus breeding

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: birding-aus breeding
From: (Richard Johnson)
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 10:48:00 +1000
Hi All,

It was interesting to read David Geering's comment that he thought it
was getting a bit late for breeding. I realise he's talking about
Victoria, to judge by his email address, but early January? Breeding is
in full spate up here - it's remarkable what a bit of rain and reduced
latitude will do! The 'usual' early spring breeding set in here about
September but recent good rains have got things going here in W Qld.
We recently camped out near Quilpie. In the immediate vicinity of our
camp I recorded WW Trillers, Willie Wagtails, Masked Woodswallows, Fairy
Martins, Chestnut-crowned Babblers nesting (eggs and/or nestlings). On
the 211km road trip from Quilpie to Charleville I estimated that 12 of
the 15 or so available road culverts were being used by Fairy Martin
colonies - this  estimate being derived by the presence of birds in and
about the culvert as we drove over it - I didn't stop to see if nests
were present. This seems a dramatic response to favourable conditions -
in dry conditions you are flat out seeing FM's. Moving closer to home,
our resident Magpie-larks appear determined to at least match last
season's effort when they fledged three successive broods of 3, 4 and 3
young. Last weekend I noticed the female visiting the nest and the male
chasing off the two remaining youngsters from the last brood - sure
enough, the female is now sitting. This lot will be no. 3; they have
already raised two broods of 3 and 4 to fledging. All has not been rosy
for the youngsters however. Judging from the remains in my neighbours
yard, the two less fortunate siblings of the last brood fed the local
Collared Sparrowhawk.
The rain has had some interesting effects on waterbird populations at
our local sewage works. Until the recent heavy and widespread rain
further west we had large numbers of ducks, especially Grey Teal (500+),
but including a good number of pinkies and Shoveler. These have nearly
all shot through, presumably seeking breeding opportunities west and
south. On the other hand, we have had a very brief visit fron a pair of
Cotton Pygmy-Goose and a lone Comb-crested Jacana, both a bit west of
their usual range, and last Saturday I found an immature Black-necked
Stork on a nearby swamp. Wonder where he/she grew up?

Richard Johnson
Roma District
Tel: (07) 4622 4266  Fax: (07) 46 22 4151

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